Hibiscus in the poaching syrup gives white peaches a lovely aroma and their skins a beautiful purple tint. Still, any peaches will do and the gluten free summer dessert recipe also works well with fresh, ripe peaches that aren’t poached. The meringue’s vanilla salt, sold in specialty stores, is a nice counterpoint to the dessert’s sweetness. But you can use vanilla extract and top the finished dessert with flaky salt, too.
Hibiscus-Poached White Peaches with Pink Peppercorn and Vanilla Salt Meringue Recipe
For The Poached Peaches:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers (find them here)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 white peaches
For The Meringue:
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar, caster sugar, or granulated sugar processed to a powder in a food processor
- 1 teaspoon crushed pink peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon flaky vanilla sea salt
- 1/2 cup whipped crème fraîche or whipped heavy cream, for serving
Prepare the poached peaches: Combine the granulated sugar, 8 cups water, and hibiscus in a pot over medium-high heat. When the liquid comes a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the poaching liquid for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Have ready a large bowl of ice water and pour the lemon juice into another large bowl. Cut an X in the bottom of each peach. Add the peaches to the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer them to the ice water. Peel off and discard the skins, then immediately toss the peaches in the lemon juice to stop them from oxidizing and turning brown.
Cut a circle of parchment paper just to fit the inside circumference of the pot with the poaching liquid. Add the peaches to the poaching liquid, place the circle of parchment on top to help the peaches stay covered in the liquid, and let them simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, let the peaches cool in the syrup, then chill the peaches in the syrup for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight so they can acquire more color and flavor.
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites. When they become foamy and opaque, start adding the powdered superfine sugar 1 tablespoonful at a time. Continue whipping while adding the sugar, then whip until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks. Spread the meringue evenly over the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with the pink peppercorns and vanilla salt. Bake until dry, 45 to 55 minutes, opening the oven halfway through to release some of the steam. Let the meringue cool to room temperature.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the peaches from the syrup, reserving the syrup. Carefully halve them and discard the pits. Spread a generous dollop of whipped crème fraîche in the bottom of 4 bowls. Place 2 peach halves over the cream and top with broken pieces of meringue. Drizzle a tablespoonful of the syrup on top and serve immediately.
We recommend Aran Goyoaga’s cookbook. Find it here.
Photography Aran Goyoaga
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